On these hot summer days, have some light, classic chilled soups

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By Norm Harding, Reporter

 Chilled soups are a great idea for these hot summer days when you just want something light. 

We had some chili a couple days ago, even though I prefer to have it during the cold winter days, which we don’t seem to have very often around here. So I started thinking about making some chilled soups and came up with a few that are relatively easy to make with ingredients most of us have in the pantry or fridge.

The king of cold soups is gazpacho, a Spanish tomato-based soup that originated in Andalucia. Other versions can be made using with avocados, corn and tropical fruits, even watermelon.

Vichyssoise is simply a cold potato and leek soup, very flavorful and quick and easy to make. The leeks and potatoes are cooked in a chicken broth thickened with fresh cream and is traditionally served cold. This cold French soup remains a true classic.

If you want a truly light and easy to prepare chilled soup, try the traditional Greek lemon soup, known as avgolemono (ahv-go-LEH-mo-no), made with chicken broth, lemon juice, eggs and rice. It’s usually served hot, but when chilled and seasoned with a little dill, it makes for a smooth, luscious starter for any summer meal.

Gazpacho Andaluz        (cold tomato soup)

Spanish cold tomato soup (Gazpacho) is easy to make and although ingredients may vary according to region, this is the basic recipe.

2 cups canned tomatoes

1 small green pepper, seeded and diced

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced

1/2 small onion, diced

2 Tbsps. red wine vinegar

1/4 tsp. tarragon

1/4 tsp. sugar

1 clove garlic, chopped

3/4 cup tomato juice

1 cup day-old bread, soaked

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender, in batches if necessary, and blend until smooth. Strain, pressing with the back of a wooden spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Salt to taste. Add more vinegar if needed. Chill overnight. Makes 4 servings.

Note: You can sprinkle diced serrano ham or hardboiled eggs or even small portions of diced tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, onion or croutons on top.

Polish Dill Pickle Soup

This soup tastes best chilled, the next day.

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced dill pickles

6 cups chicken broth

1 cup diced potatoes

1-1/2 Tbsps. all-purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

Salt to taste


In a large pot, add the carrots, pickles and chicken stock. Cook over medium heat for 35-40 minutes and then add potatoes; cook until soft, about another 20 minutes.

Combine flour and milk in a small bowl, and gradually stir into soup. Continue stirring until mixture begins to boil; remove from heat. Season to taste with salt. Can be served hot or chill for a few hours to serve cold. Makes 4-6 servings.

Classic Vichyssoise        (cold potato soup)

1 Tbsp. butter

3 leeks, bulb only, sliced into rings

1 onion, sliced

5 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. dried marjoram

1 bay leaf

5 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream


In a large stockpot, melt butter over low heat. Add the leeks and onion, cover and cook about 10 minutes. Add potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add thyme, marjoram and bay leaf; stir well. Cover and continue cooking another 15-20 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook, partially covered, for 30 minutes.

Puree soup in a blender or food processor, in batches if necessary, and let cool. Before serving, add the whipping cream and mix well. Makes 4 servings.

Roasted Pepper Soup

Try topping this soup off with a little crabmeat!

1 roasted yellow bell pepper

2 cups chicken broth

3/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup dry sherry

2 Tbsps. red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste


To roast the pepper: cut the pepper in half and remove the stem, veins and seeds. Place on a broiler pan and coat lightly with oil. Broil for 5-7 minutes, rotating the pepper as the flesh closest to the heat blackens and blisters. Remove the pepper when it has blackened completely. Place it in a bowl and cover to allow it to steam. After about 15 minutes, scrape off and discard the blackened skin.

In a blender, combine roasted pepper, chicken broth, orange juice, sherry, vinegar and garlic; pulse until smooth. Transfer soup to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool until warm. Pour into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate.

Once chilled, season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 2 servings.

Greek Lemon                     Soup with Dill

4 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup long-grain white rice

2 large eggs

3 Tbsps. fresh lemon juice

1 green onion, thinly sliced

2 Tbsps. chopped fresh dill (or 1 Tbsp. freeze-dried)


In a medium saucepan, simmer stock and rice until rice is very tender, about 30 minutes. Transfer mixture to a blender and purée until smooth. Whisk eggs together in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in hot stock mixture. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until heated through, at least 180 degrees, but not boiling; remove from heat.

Strain soup into a bowl using a fine-mesh sieve. Stir in lemon juice. Refrigerate until cold (can be made up to 2 days ahead). Before serving, stir in green onion and dill; salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.


Norm Harding is a cooking columnist for the Beacon. To send him recipes, e-mail him at nharding@brunswickbeacon.com.